Since lunchtime on 15th November tributes have been flowing in following the death of one of Ireland’s best entertainers and one of the best loved, Sonny Knowles. He was 86.
Sonny played the clarinet and saxaphone, had a marvellous singing voice and his career spanned six decades. He has been described as one of the true gentlemen of the entertainment world. Sonny Knowles stared his career in the music world with Johnny Butler Band. Later he was part of Earl Gill’s Band, along with the Pacific Showband and then Dermot O’Brien’s showband.
The cabaret scene was taking off in Ireland in the late sixties and that prompted Sonny to follow a very successful solo career. Those of a certain age will remember Sonny Knowles singing on stage or on the television and when he sang he moved his hand in a circular motion which earned him the nickname “the window cleaner”.
In Limerick in the 1980’s there was a pirate radio station called Raidio Luimni and it was owned by a great radio character called John “The Man” Frawley. John had a very unique style of presentation and when he played the Sonny Knowles song “The Only Couple on the Floor” he introduced it as “The Broken Bed Song”. Sonny was very familiar with his song being christened as such and referred to it on numerous occasions during live performances – and always credited John The Man.
Sonny Knowles is survived by his wife Sheila and their children Aisling, Geraldine and Gary.
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam.